I've done this ride before although never quite like this. It was wheels down at 6:30 a.m. on a cool morning with a cloud cover. I left Friedens and rode up Pa. Rte 281 to Stoystown and not one single car passed me. I stopped briefly to take a picture when I found one of the decorative 1930s gas pumps that celebrate the Old Lincoln Highway.
In Stoystown I got on Plank Road for what should have been an enjoyable descent down to and past the Quemahoning Reservoir. And then I remembered a couple of weeks earlier laughing at Frenchman Arnaud Demare stopping during the Tour de France and running into someone's camper to use their bathroom. Karma would get her revenge today although there were no campers alongside these forested roads. The good thing is that no cars passed me on this stretch of road either. It happens.
Riding my new Trek Domane, I was wondering if my average speed would be higher today than it was four years ago when I was chased by Rottweilers. But I rode at a relaxed pace, often stopping to take pictures. Or other things.
Arnaud Demare, 2014 Tour de France
In Northern Cambria at Mile 55, I stopped at the home of Don & Nancy Lowmaster for a needed water break. The sun had come out, it was warming up, and I had depleted my water.
|My One Hour Photo|
Although another 20 miles remained to my destination of a reunion site, these were the hardest miles for me. While the climb out of Johnstown seems somewhat steep, the road is good and the grade is constant. Once on these back country roads the climbs become stepper, the surface a little rougher, but for me the hardest part is the grades are not consistent. It is hard to find a pedaling rhythm.
|Coney Island, Johnstown, Pa.|
Hot dogs for breakfast?
On Arcadia Road I remembered a loose dog last year, sped up and went into stealth mode. I thought I was by safely. Then to my right heel was a pit bull chasing. Oh boy. But I was already 200 yards past his house and I think he was more chase than catch. At least today he was.
|Looking towards Johnstown, Pa.|
Just before Smithport someone went by and called out "Hi Barry." I have no idea who it was.
After the reunion I decided to ride on to Gobbler's Knob and into Punxsutawney. I had never been to Gobbler's Knob. It was another 6-7 miles with much of it on those nasty little climbs that are steep with no consistency. It was August 2 - six months after or six months before Groundhog Day. Was I early or was I late? It didn't matter. It was a sweet ride down to Punxsutawney to end the day.
A check of the data shows I was not faster than four years ago although it was my second fastest time - even while not feeling so hot.